I noticed that my old pal Hugh reposted his 2006 manifesto on his blog this week. Since he was kind enough back then to credit my post as an impetus, I feel justified in re-posting my old J-train minifesto today. I don't think much has changed (apart from the fact that Robert Scoble doesn't publicise my posts these days).
All Markets Are Up For Grabs.
It's no longer possible to control the conversation. While incumbents spend their time trying to cling to that belief, you have the opportunity to step in, reframe the discussion and win a new argument.
Difference Not Differentiation.
Customers have either too much stuff or not enough time and value current choices over substitutes. Minimise the behavioural change you demand of them, but give them a real reason or reasons to love your product/service.
Ensuring that everything works and instantly reacting to any problems is a given. Bad news travels much faster and wider than it did before. An informed customer is your best promotion but potentially your worst nightmare.
Make Your Marketing Sociable.
You can't control the conversation, but you can facilitate and, to some extent, host it in a way that allows you to build genuine relationships with potential customers rather than white-noise relationships with anyone you can bombard.
Interaction Requires Iteration.
It's not enough to listen and a single return path does not constitute a dialogue. Meaningful long-term connection with prospective customers can only come from community, co-operation and co-creation.
See The Wood For The Trees.
Don't assume you're like the customers. You're much closer to your business than they are or care to be. Find out what they're like. The shared interest at the heart of your relationship will probably not to be the product itself.
Relate, Renew and Reinvent.
If you want them to keep coming back to you, then you must keep coming back to them. It's not about new campaigns that look different. The new focus is more on product and customer development and less on explicit promotion.
Don't Forget To Sell.
Engagement is great but it doesn't pay the bills, so remember to sell. Selling is responding to the customer's interest when they choose to make the move. It's not about cutting deals, it is about making it easy for them to buy or trial.
Le ROI Est Mort.
Marketing cannot be a measurement-free zone, but increasingly its overall impact is indirect and qualitative. However, as engagement methods are less expensive than advertising, ROI will almost certainly rise and, crucially, with no increase in spending, it will continue to rise as your engagement intensifies.
Marketing Is Not A Department.
Marketing is a combination of elements that creates the environment in which it is possible to meet a customer need (starting right back at product development). It operates online and off and should inform and occupy every aspect and department of an organisation. More than ever before, it is everybody's job.
The J train that I used to ride from lower Manhattan out to JFK is synonomous for me with expanding horizons and (with its echoes of those trains called clue and hugh) it seemed an aptly contrived title for my rough draft minifesto on this evolving thing we call marketing 2.0.